KARACHI: An alarming rise in the incidence of street crime in the metropolis has forced province’s top authorities to sit together and formulate a strategy to curb the menace.
The recent surge in killing of the victims during armed robberies and mugging widely triggered a sense of insecurity among people on social media and led to severe criticism by the opposition parties at the provincial government for its failure to contain the street crime in the city.
The recent violent incidents included the murder of a journalist associated with Samaa TV and a security guard during robberies and mugging of over 100 people in Korangi in a span of one week.
The situation compelled Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Monday to chair a meeting, after presiding over a session of the Sindh cabinet, exclusively to work out a strategy to eradicate street crime in the city.
Orders targeted operations in city; plans to introduce E-tagging of criminals
The meeting, which was attended by top police and Rangers officials as well as provincial heads of intelligence agencies, decided to launch targeted operations against street criminals in the city. The meeting decided to legislate on E-tagging of criminals involved in repeated crime in view of the recent surge in the incidence of street crime in the city.
The CM said that there were a number of habitual offenders who continued committing crime. “I want electronic tagging of such criminals to be made so that an eagle eye could be put on them,” he said.
Electronic tagging is a form of surveillance that uses an electronic device affixed to a criminal or suspected criminal released on bail or parole. It enables the police to know if they leave a particular area.
Irked by police, Rangers performance
Mr Shah acknowledged that during the last one and half month a new surge of street crime had created a wave of fear and insecurity in the city. “I usually visit the city secretly but hardly have seen the police and Rangers on the roads or on patrolling in areas,” he said, adding that this was unacceptable at all.
He said that some gruesome incidents had taken place in which citizens lost their lives against street criminals. “Where are your SHOs, what are they doing and what is their performance,” he asked high-ups of the police department.
In a bid to explain their position, police authorities told the meeting that during 2022, 12 criminals were killed and 82 injured in 123 encounters. As many as 1,217 criminals involved in robberies were arrested, 292 held for vehicle snatching/theft cases and 903 illicit weapons recovered.
It was pointed out that out of 7,179 arrested persons, 3,666 were enlarged on bail by courts while 3,513 acquitted.
At this, the chief minister said that it was the weakness of the police that they were not investigating the cases properly.
He directed the inspector general of police, home secretary and law department to suggest necessary legislation so that bail could be made difficult for habitual criminals.
The CM said that he would pay surprise visits to the city and he wanted to see effective patrolling by police and Rangers in their areas of jurisdiction to protect citizens.
“I want you to keep me posted about the fortnightly performance of SHO in terms of criminal cases in their areas,” he said, adding that it was the SHOs who must have knowledge about all active criminals in their area. He said he would remove those SHOs found negligent in curbing crimes in their respective areas.
He was told that some gangs were operating from jails. Upon which, the chief minister directed the home department to launch a massive operation in all prisons and take strict action against such criminals.
The meeting was told that over 15,000 posts of constables were vacant in the city. The chief minister directed the IGP to expedite the recruitment process.
The chief minister said that the Safe City project had come to a tendering stage under which the entire red zone and all the important places/installations would be covered.
It was decided that CCTV cameras installed by private persons at their streets, business centres and other places would be registered.
The CM also directed the police to act against armed private guards roaming in the city. “I want you to take strict action against them,” he ordered.
The meeting was attended by CM’s Law Adviser Murtaza Wahab, Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah, Advocate General Salman Talibuddin, IGP Mushtaq Mahar, Home Secretary Saeed Mangnijo, Karachi police chief Ghulam Nabi Memon, Additional IG (Special Branch) Javed Odho, Rangers deputy director general Brigadier Rauf Shahzad, Law Secretary Ali Ahmed Baloch and others.
Published in Dawn, February 22nd, 2022